Meet Steve Morang, Head of Governance, Risk & Compliance Services
When I was in college I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I didn’t know that I wanted to go into accounting. I actually started off wanting to be a veterinarian. I found out in my sophomore year of college that I would have to change universities if I wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. I decided that I really liked where I was at university so I changed my major from veterinary medicine to a major in business and specifically in economics. And then after I graduated from undergraduate I realized that there wasn’t really much that I could do that I wanted to do with just an undergraduate degree so I went on to pursue an MBA in finance.
Once I had that I started working about the first five years in sales and marketing actually. And then when I was about 30 I got an opportunity to work in public accounting for one of the big four. I started off as an associate and I immediately got drawn into internal audit and forensic accounting. I spent about five years doing that, really learning a lot about what fraud examination and fraud investigation is about. Because you had to look at people, processes, really be almost like a Colombo trying to figure out what was going on and then able to document that.
I got the certifications that I needed to do in order to become specialized in that area and then I just kept pursuing that down the road and kept moving up the ladder in public accounting and really enjoying the work that I do. I feel so fortunate today because after 15 years there’s no place I’d rather be than doing the job that I do now.
You really have to understand, what do you like to do? There are folks that are very good at crunching numbers and like doing auditing and like checking and doing things like that. But then there are other people who are better more looking at strategies and understanding processes and internal controls and they’re much better at internal audit. So I think I would say that everyone has to follow their passion.
If you want to get to where I’m at if you would be interested for example in forensic accounting or fraud examination, I tell folks it’s good to get first your base. You can’t just jump into it because you don’t have the tools necessary in order to do it well. So by base I mean most folks, they go to undergraduate, they get an accounting degree. Accounting is really the basis of business so it’s not bad to understand accounting.
Once you’ve done accounting, of course there are options to you whether or not you are going to do a CPA. But once you have that you can think about going into other areas. Like internal audit and understanding processes. So if you look at auditing it’s more around looking at numbers and how rules around accounting. And once you get into internal audit you start looking more at processes and internal controls.
Building upon that you can go the next step would be understanding risk and risk management. Because then that is sort of what you’re addressing and internal controls. And then as a last step you can then specialize in understanding fraud. Because once you understand accounting, processes, people, risks, then you can also go to the last aspect of it which is how do people commit fraud in order to circumvent controls, in order to get around the accounting policies and procedures and in order to hurt the organization. And that gets into a lot more doing things like improving your interview skills, understanding when people are being deceitful, maybe lying to you when you’re speaking with them. So that obviously takes time but if you get there, if that’s something that interests you, it’s a great career.